San Francisco Healthcare Workers to Protest Understaffing and Severe Cuts to Benefits at Chinese Hospital

San Francisco Healthcare Workers to Protest Understaffing and Severe Cuts to Benefits at Chinese Hospital


May 16, 2022

SAN FRANCISCO – Healthcare workers and allies will gather at Chinese Hospital Monday, May 16 at 2:30 p.m. to protest the employer’s understaffing and attacks on caregivers’ benefits, which endanger patient care and the ability to retain experienced staff at the facility.

Chinese Hospital’s essential role in Bay Area healthcare access makes management’s understaffing and attacks on caregivers especially alarming. The hospital was founded in 1925 to provide care for the region’s Chinese community at a time of extreme discrimination against Chinese immigrants. Today, all workers at the facility speak Chinese — the only language spoken by 90% of the hospital’s patients.

“Not just any caregiver can work here — we know and love our patients, we speak their language, and we understand this community’s healthcare needs,” says Jonathan Ho, a transporter at the facility. “Management needs to be doing more to recruit and retain experienced caregivers who are attuned to this culture, not driving us away with cuts and refusing to hire enough staff.”

In a recent survey of workers at Chinese Hospital, 56 percent reported that their department is either severely or somewhat understaffed. Nearly 100 workers at the facility are currently in contract bargaining with management.

“For years, management has refused to provide the staff we need to deliver quality care to our patients,” said Sabrina Wong, a sterile processing technician at Chinese Hospital. “Now they’re making the problem worse by trying to eliminate the healthcare coverage that our families need to stay alive and healthy — even though we’ve put our lives on the line for over two years guiding this community through the pandemic.”

Chinese Hospital’s attacks on its workforce come in the midst of a healthcare staffing crisis across the state. California faces a massive shortage of allied healthcare workers — job classes that include medical assistants, respiratory therapists, emergency room workers, licensed vocational nurses, lab assistants, housekeepers, and many other frontline staff. As many as 65,000 additional allied healthcare workers are needed annually to care for the state’s aging population, according to the 2021 report Meeting California’s Demand for Allied Health Workers, published by California Competes.

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SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) is a healthcare justice union of more than 100,000 healthcare workers, patients, and activists united to ensure affordable, accessible, high-quality care for all Californians, provided by valued and respected caregivers.